Change is Good
"We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don't have something better.” ---C. JoyBell C.
Many successful people are naturally creatures of habit. We thrive off of routine, trusted networks, and proven methods. We participate in trial and error, we take calculated risks, and although we dare to be creative and think outside of the box, when something works we become protectors of it and stick to it. I get it! Why? Because that used to be me. Change is hard! However, in most cases, change is absolutely necessary. The world around us is constantly changing, factors such as technology, economical status, access to higher education, media and social media influence, etc. changes the daily lives of us as leaders and the communities we serve. You may not like change, but the status quo, playing it safe, and only operating within your comfort zone will cause you to eventually fail because more than likely, your competitors, colleagues, clients, and network are on the road towards progression. In my book, Deliberate Excellence, I discuss participating in one of my first leadership meetings while leading one of the largest school systems in the country and looking up to see Jack Welch’s quote:
“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”
Simply put, change will happen with or without you or your organization.
Even if you are satisfied with your professional work, receive continuous praise for your contributions, or feel financially secure, change and progression will allow you to hold on to your success. We as professionals and leaders must stop looking at change as a negative occurrence and something that we do to fix a problem or as a survival method. Change should not just occur when we are pushed into a corner and running out of solutions. Change should be strategic and part of our business plan. That is right; change must be intentional and when anticipated and planned for, change is positive!
3 reasons for professional change:
1. To Efficiently Engage with your Target Market
Whatever product or service you provide, even a rookie sales professional will tell you the importance of really knowing and understanding your audience. Not just knowing the basics such as age, location, sex, race, socioeconomic status but knowing in detail what excites and motivates your audience. If you lose them, or perhaps understand their needs and interests from five years ago but not their present-day needs, your organization’s long-term success will be and is in jeopardy.
Are you the same person you were five years ago? Do you shop the same? Do you have the same needs? Have your priorities changed even slightly? More than likely your priorities and interests have shifted over time. You won’t be able to analyze every change and factor that impacts every single member of your target market, but you absolutely can study their trends and make changes to the services your provide based off of their needs. Overtime you will need to:
Change or update your contact approach. Think about it – 15 years ago direct mail might have been the most successful approach, 7 years ago email campaigns could have been the most effective, and today many people make decisions based off of what they see on social media in terms of ads and trending topics. Who knows what it will be in 2020 let alone 2025.
Make sure you still supply a need. Remember, the most successful people fill in white space. They seek out voids and fill them. Maybe you were providing something rare and super unique years ago, but now your type of service is easily accessed by the masses. How can you change or better yet evolve to make sure your quality and techniques differ from others and sets you apart from others?
2. Technological Advances
The closing of Toys’R’Us blows my mind! No, it’s not surprising that a physical store struggled to keep up with online retailers such as Amazon. What baffles me is that on their entire board of decision makers no one successfully pushed for lower prices in store and stronger e-commerce incentives with competitive pricing and better; yet, no one pushed for a strategic plan that was forward facing. While Amazon and Walmart were offering low prices, major sale days, free fast shipping, and free gift wrapping all via the Internet, Toys’R’Us was still mailing coupons to their physical store. And they continued to boast ridiculous price tags that are easily beat by other online retailers. They were banking on the in-store Toys’R’Us experience and therefore did not change. Apps, websites, and social media has changed how we shop and Toys’R’Us could not keep up fast enough when they realized moving in that direction was no longer an option.
While I loved Toys’R’Us as a kid, we can’t be like them! You don’t be like them! Appreciate all technological advances and change your approach and pricing accordingly.
3. To Re-energize your Team and Brand
Somethings should never change once they become recognizable by others such as a logo or business name. However, other alterations are welcome. Every piece of branding should be welcoming and cohesive, but most importantly, it should all be memorable. If you get the feeling that your appearance is making an easy to forget and hard to admire first impression it is time for a change – time to upgrade. Great branding changes include:
Website look and feel
Content (website, bio, etc)
Secondly, the goals and needs of your team will also evolve over time. And since your people is your greatest asset, grow with them. Keep them energized, happy, and motivated. Over time, consider changing your team’s:
Work culture experiences
Only you will recognize the many other reasons change is necessary. Identifying markers of change will be simple if you keep an open mind and appreciate change as part of your success. Every living and thriving thing, person, and entity will need to evolve and change. Change is not evidence of fault or failure; change is evidence of life. I know we were taught if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But I urge you to subscribe to the belief that mediocrity and status quo living will break you and hinder your visions and aspirations. Take it from me – it might be a bit uncomfortable, but CHANGE IS GOOD!